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Director Matt Shakman Confirms What We've Known All Along About WandaVision - Exclusive

As fans have discovered, the Disney+ series WandaVision has driven home the point that to Marvel Studios creatives, emotional depth and complexity are just as — if not more — important to Marvel movies and shows as action and adventure. 

Prior to WandaVisionAvengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame in particular explored difficult emotions through unexpected deaths of key characters. Infinity War is where Thanos (Josh Brolin) tragically killed Vision (Paul Bettany), and while Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) was naturally devastated by the death of her great love, she really never had a chance to grieve his loss as she became a victim of the Snap herself. Then, once Wanda and the half of universe did return thanks to Hulk's (Mark Ruffalo) use of the Nano Gauntlet to reverse the effects of the Snap in Endgame, she was thrown into the heat of battle as she assembled with her fellow Avengers to defeat Thanos once and for all.

WandaVision is set after the events of Endgame, and throughout the series' run, fans have come to realize that what they've suspected all along is completely true: WandaVision is all about Wanda finally processing her grief of not only losing Vision, but also her brother Pietro and their parents, who died when they were children.  Speaking in an exclusive interview with Looper ahead of WandaVision's series finale, now streaming on Disney+, director Matt Shakman opened up about Wanda's personal journey, and how fans see her emotions unfold in the show.

'But what is grief, if not love persevering?'

As Wanda is processing her loss in episode 8, Vision — in the reality that Wanda created, that is — delivers what is destined to become a classic line in the MCU: "But what is grief, if not love persevering?" It's a line that instantly resonated with fans of the series, and perfectly encapsulates the emotions Wanda is dealing with in the series, Shakman told Looper.

"I think that's what's so special about the show is that it beats with a big heart, and that it is about grief, and it's about [questioning], 'How do you come back from loss, impossible loss, [and] loss for [Wanda]?'" Shakman explained. "She escaped from it and built this world, this reality. This is her own reality to find solace, and she's sort of forced to confront that again and again and again, to confront that loss."

In Shakman's estimation, after watching the events of WandaVision episode 8, which shows how Wanda used Chaos Magic to create the idyllic sitcom setting for her and Vision to fully realize the love they have for each other, fans will have a completely different perspective if they revisit WandaVision's early episodes.

"The purpose of episode 8, really, is to shine a light on something that has been happening throughout the show. If you go back and look up episodes 1, 2, and 3, you'll look at them very differently — now that you understand, 'Why sitcoms?' and you understand what she's trying to recreate and what she's lost," Shakman said. "But this is about how you process loss and how you process grief, and how you get beyond it."

Matt Shakman is grateful for the chance to tell Wanda's story

As Shakman reflected on his role in creating WandaVision, he told Looper he feels "humbled" by the opportunity to bring Wanda's back story to light as the director of all nine episodes of the series. However, the director is quick to point out that the success of the series really is the sum of all the talent involved, whether they are in front of or behind the camera.

"I'm just a part of an amazing team of filmmakers here: Jac Schaeffer, our head writer, and Mary Livanos, our producer at Marvel, and [Marvel President] Kevin Feige, and Lizzie Olsen, who's been carrying this character beautifully from movie to movie," Shakman shared with Looper. "So, all of us, we're trying to do our best to honor this amazing character, and love the comic books, and love all of the different sort of Scarlet Witch stories that are out there. We wanted to try to pull together and build a story that was new and original, but that [also] honored the past and that would send her forward into the future in a new way."

WandaVision's series finale is streaming now on Disney+.